Tag: Philosophy of Mind

And more on consciousness!

Two recent videos highlight the mystery and fascination of determining what, exactly, is consciousness.

Before I get started, it crossed my mind that some readers on Learning from Dogs might struggle finding any link between the the title of the Blog and such esoteric topics as consciousness.  Let me try and explain.  On the home page of this Blog is written,

But 10,000 years of farming the planet’s plant and mineral resources have brought mankind to the edge of extinction, literally as well as metaphorically.

Dogs know better!  Time again for man to learn from dogs!

Here’s a recent comment I made to an article on Naked Capitalism,

In a much broader sense, it feels to me as though we have been partying on the edge of a global volcano for years and years. Greece is surely a metaphor for the craziness of so many countries.

Continuing that broader sense, the period that we are in, from political, economical, societal, environmental and ethical perspectives, seems bust. Good will eventually come out of this transition, of that I have no doubt, but what a fascinating period in which to be alive!

I firmly believe that the period we are presently living through is a transition between the last, say 30 years (in a sense, many more decades than that) and a more aware, sensitive period where mankind embraces a deeper, sustainable, relationship with the planet that is home and life to all of us.  Frankly, there is no choice!

Thus the nature of consciousness, our awareness of self, is a crucial element of the future.  The greater our self-awareness, the greater our self-understanding and from that better self-understanding comes all hope of recognising our attitudes and knowing that it is our attitudes that drive our behaviours.

So here follow two videos.  Settle back and be entranced!

The first is the last episode in a brilliant BBC series broadcast in 2007, probably one of the best TV series on psychology and neuroscience ever produced.  The full series is on Top Documentary Films but the last episode called The Final Mystery is all about consciousness.  Beware you are going to never see the world in quite the same way!

Here it is, The Final Mystery presented by neuroscientist Susan Greenfield.

The second video is from Season Two of the Through the Wormhole series.  It is called Is there Life after Death? and also explores the deeper aspects of consciousness.  As the introduction to the video says,

In the premiere episode of the second season of Through the Wormhole, Morgan Freeman dives deep into this provocative question that has mystified humans since the beginning of time.

Modern physics and neuroscience are venturing into this once hallowed ground, and radically changing our ideas of life after death.

Freeman serves as host to this polarized debate, where scientists and spiritualist attempt to define what is consciousness, while cutting edge quantum mechanics could provide the answer to what happens when we die.

Here’s the film; same health warning applies!  You are going to see the world differently after watching this!

Finally, do you have a dog at home?  If you do, ponder on how their conscious world engages them.  If science can’t explain human consciousness then all we have is our own intuition with regard to animals.  Not sure about you but when one is feeling a little low and a dog comes up and lays a head across you I feel a very strong conscious connection.

Consciousness, science or God?

More of Peter Russell’s insightful ideas.

It was back in March, the 8th to be precise, when I first wrote about Peter Russell.  Well just over a week ago, I came across another article by Russell from the Huffington Post.  It was then a moment’s work to find it on Peter Russell’s own website.  (This links to various essays on the topic.)

Here’s a ‘taste’ from the first essay.

The Anomaly of Consciousness

Excerpted from book From Science to God

Science has had remarkable success in explaining the structure and functioning of the material world, but when it comes to the inner world of the mind science falls curiously silent. There is nothing in physics, chemistry, biology, or any other science that can account for our having an interior world. In a strange way, scientists would be much happier if there were no such thing as consciousness.

David Chalmers, professor of philosophy at the University of Arizona, calls this the “hard problem” of consciousness. The so-called “easy problems” are those concerned with brain function and its correlation with mental phenomena: how, for example, we discriminate, categorize, and react to stimuli; how incoming sensory data are integrated with past experience; how we focus our attention; and what distinguishes wakefulness from sleep.

It would be wrong to publish anything more so if you are interested in more, then go here and pick away or better still buy the book!

If you have a quiet 30 minutes, settle down and watch these videos

Part One

Part Two

Part Three